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Jane Austen's Letters

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Jane Austen's letters afford a unique insight into the daily life of the novelist: intimate and gossipy, observant and informative--they read much like the novels themselves. They bring alive her family and friends, her surroundings and contemporary events with a freshness unparalleled in
modern biographies. Above all we recognize the unmistakable voice of the author of such novels as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. We see the shift in her writing from witty and amusing descriptions of the social life of town and country, to a thoughtful and constructive tone while
writing about the business of literary composition.
R.W. Chapman's ground-breaking edition of the collected Letters first appeared in 1932, and a second edition followed twenty years later. Now in this third edition of Jane Austen's Letters, Deirdre Le Faye has added new material that has come to light since 1952, and re-ordered the letters into
their correct chronological sequence. She has provided discreet and full annotation to each letter, including its provenance, and information on the watermarks, postmarks, and other physical details of the manuscripts, together with new biographical, topographical, and general indexes. Teachers,
students, and fans of Jane Austen, at all levels, will find remarkable insight into one of the most popular novelists ever

643 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1932

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About the author

Jane Austen

2,896 books61.9k followers
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years until she was about 35 years old. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 120 reviews
Profile Image for Robin.
173 reviews20 followers
January 16, 2012
Got this for a Christmas present! Woot!

First part of my Review: The Editing. Le Faye's work is a concise, scholarly job; this book deserves the reputation it has. It is as heavily detailed and full of excellent minutiae as JA's letters. Included are all the lists you'll need to understand the reading: places mentioned in the letters, general index, list of initials used in reference, bibliography, even a biographical index of the people JA talks about. One thing struck me here: JA had such an incredible amount of extended family (it seemed like almost everybody over several generations had anywhere from 8 to 17 children!), and I wondered: Didn't any families populate the SE corner of England except Austens??

My one fault with the book was the presentation. It got so old flipping back every other page to read the background of the letters. If it were presented differently, with perhaps the historical information (date written and from where, what happened to the original MS, when published, etc.) preceding the text of the letter within the pages, and the footnoted information (who JA's talking about, etc.) as actual footnotes at the bottom of the page, I have no doubt the ease of reading would increase 100%!

(Note: my copy is the 3rd edition from 1997, not the current 4th edition which I specifically did not want. The new publication may include those presentation improvements -- I would hope!)

Second part: The Letters Themselves. Jane Austen's correspondence was very interesting. Reading this, I felt I was really living in the time period. The minutiae of making orange wine and mead, returning social calls, keeping your clothes fashionable, and how to accommodate their overnight guests grew to be overwhelming (and I only read about it, not did it!) Where did this girl find time to write?? Most of the letters (to about 1806) are from Jane to her sister Cassandra, and only concerned those small aspects of their daily lives (or the lives of their relatives and nearest friends); they made for sluggish reading. I did wish Jane would have a thought that wasn't sheer gossip!

But as the years went by, and as more letters to maturing nieces and nephews were included, the book grew that more interesting. Toward the end Jane spoke on some issues of the day - a possible war, thousands killed in a catastrophe, a fashionable Scandal, or the Importance of Being an Aunt - and this became the Jane I recognized. In her dealings with the Carlton House librarian J S Clarke regarding dedicating Emma to the Prince Regent, I LOL'd! If P&P hadn't already been published, I'd swear she copied the character of Mr. Collins from that intruding, busybody clergyman James Stanier Clarke! Jane's tact when dealing with him was superb! Several letters give advice to girls in love or budding novelists. (Critiqued by Jane Austen! Wouldn't that be a coup?!) With these subjects I seem to be reading Jane's own journal, not just little ideas in a document that could be passed around and read by any who came to call. She's opening up, letting the bars down, allowing me to see her real thoughts. So at the end, hearing her struggle to overcome her illness, reading her will and then the letters from Cassandra regarding Jane's death - I feel that I have lost a real friend. I had got to know Jane Austen a little bit better.
Profile Image for Marsali Taylor.
Author 24 books143 followers
August 1, 2012
Even if these letters weren't by Jane Austen, they'd be worth reading for the way they take you right into the lives lived by the lower country gentry in the late Georgian era. The quiet country life? It's worse even than Shetland ... a constant round of calling on neighbours and them calling on you, keeping in touch with relatives by letter, dinner parties, balls, theatres, visits of a fortnight or more with other relatives ... and in among that you had to harvest your fruit and vegetables and make preserves, wine, brew your beer, make or refurbish your own clothes ... it's amazing Austen got any writing done at all in among it. But as they are by Austen, well, the busy round is told with wit and spirit worthy of Elizabeth Bennet. Most importantly, what a lovely idea you get of Austen herself - lively, interested in everything, so fond of her sister, concerned about her mother, amused by her brothers and giddy niece Fanny. You read the biography written by her brother Henry, in which he speaks of her as a most beloved sister and aunt, and think he's over-egging the pud a bit, and then you read her letters and see how it couldn't help but be true. And I bet you wouldn't pick Jane Austen as the writer of the comment (I'm paraphrasing here) 'The good thing about being older is that at balls I can sit by the fire and drink as much wine as I like.'

The volume (tome) is the sort where you need several bookmarks: one for the text, one for the footnotes and another, if you want, for the biographical section, where there's more information on everyone mentioned in the letters. I read the notes first, for each letter, then the letter itself, and I really could have done with having Le Faye's biography of Austen to hand as well, and to find out what had happened in the times the sisters were together - which wasn't often, as one or other was always being needed to help with the children and house when another baby was being born to one of their brothers, while the other had to stay at home with their mother.

A work of thorough scholarship, which ends with Austen's sister Cassandra's letters written to her favourite niece, Fanny, just after Austen's death: 'I have lost such a sister ...' These moved me to tears - you really felt her loss.

This book was a Christmas treat to myself, with a book token, and worth every penny.
Profile Image for Ann☕.
291 reviews
December 8, 2022
...next week [I] shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.

I'm not even sure how to review a bunch of letters written in the late 1700s and early 1800s, that were never really meant for the public eye. This is a must read for JA fans. The letters not only give insight into JA's personal life but also her growth as an author. Her biting wit comes through in nearly every piece of correspondence JA penned.
Profile Image for Rikke.
615 reviews650 followers
May 10, 2013
At first glance this letter collection may just seem like trivial tales of an uneventful everyday life - but under the trifling discussions of silk stockings, dinner menus and minor balls lies the heart of the most accomplished writer who ever lived.

These letters offer intimate insights in Jane Austen's way of thinking, reasoning and living. This book is the most direct impression one could ever gain of Jane Austen herself. And it is fascinating.
From the loving, gentle and comforting letters to her sister and relatives, to the formal business correspondence concerning her novels, her endearing childhood rhymes composed for the amusement of her nieces, her harsh and sarcastic portrayals of her surroundings and acquaintances, and the mournful accounts of death and loss; these letters show Jane Austen from as many angles as humanly possible.
Of course I delighted in the letters that involved literary criticism and details of her reading material along with her own reflections on the construction of her novels, but I also enjoyed forming a clear picture of her simple everyday life.

As I reached the last letters, and finally read Cassandra's grievous account of Jane's death, I felt like I had gotten to know my literary idol a bit better. Because, after all, this is not insignificant letters of an important author; it is touchingly real pieces of a blessed human being.
Profile Image for Kate.
36 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2011
A close reading of these letters quickly dispels any illusions of Austen as a proper, humourless, spinster aunt. Austen's letters are funny, witty, and occasionally downright cruel.
Profile Image for Tori Samar.
533 reviews71 followers
May 5, 2021
A comprehensive collection of Jane Austen’s letters. Less fervent Austenites can get away with reading a selection of letters, but if you love her as much as I do and want to drink up anything and everything you can about her life and writing, this is the book you want. It not only has all of Jane’s surviving letters and letter fragments but also some additional letters written to or about Jane (including the one Cassandra wrote right after Jane died—excuse me while I go cry). This edition also includes thorough indexes that provide more context on people, places, events, etc., mentioned in the letters. You can avail yourself of them as much or as little as you like.

Admittedly, the content of most of the letters is fairly mundane. Far more ordinary than earth-shattering. Jane simply lived her life as all of us do and provided a snapshot of it in these letters. But ordinary is still interesting to me because it’s Jane! I learned plenty of wonderful tidbits that I did not know before and have a much better sense of what she was really like both as a person and as a writer. Fair warning, however—if you’re anything like me, this book still won’t be enough. You’ll desperately wish there was more. I doubt I’ll ever get over the fact that a large portion of Jane’s letters were destroyed and are lost to us forever.

Finally, rest assured that the same wit and humor that permeates her novels appear often in her letters. Here’s a small sampling:

"I do not want People to be very agreable as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal."

"I am tolerably glad to hear that Edward's income is so good a one—as glad as I can at anybody's being rich besides You & me."

"I shall be able to send this to the post to day, which exalts me to the utmost pinnacle of human felicity, & makes me bask in the sunshine of Prosperity, or gives me any other sensation of pleasure in studied Language which You may prefer."

"I can recollect nothing more to say at present;—perhaps Breakfast may assist my ideas.
I was deceived—my breakfast supplied only two ideas, that the rolls were good, & the butter bad."

(The Literary Life Podcast’s 19 in 2021 Reading Challenge – A book or selection of letters)
Profile Image for Carla .
771 reviews33 followers
April 19, 2020
Casi todas las cartas de Jane Austen, "casi" porque algunas no fueron recuperadas. En ellas conocemos un poco a la autora de "Orgullo y prejuicio" como también sus pequeños amores que tuve en su vida. También recopila cartas de Casandra Austen, su única hermana, quién la acompaño en sus últimos días que estuvo con vida.
Su testamento y demases imágenes de la época también son parte de éste libro.

"Pasamos por Bifrons y pude contemplar, con melancólico placer, la residencia de aquel a quien durante algún tiempo adoré tiernamente".

Citas: http://hechaensilencio.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Stephanie.
704 reviews77 followers
June 27, 2017
This was a really great look into this time period - although I was painfully aware that this was a well-to-do white woman, especially when she seemed to spend a lot of her time discussing gossip, visits, and clothes. I liked the second half better, when she's talking more about writing and events, and there are more letters to her nieces and nephews. What an excellent large family! I especially admired Cassandra and Jane's close relationship.
Profile Image for Laura.
132 reviews558 followers
April 16, 2008
Her wit and humor resonate on every page—find out just how delightful Jane would be to sit next to at a dinner party, and how much more clever her catty observations would be than your own. Exceptionally footnoted by scholar (and Austen devotee) Deidre Le Faye.
Profile Image for Ruthiella.
1,439 reviews48 followers
December 21, 2022
I didn't read all the notes, indexes or biographical data available in this 600 plus page brick of a book. This is a scholarly work. I just read the letters, which take up over 300 page, and I referred to some of the footnotes to the letters. I am also very glad I had read Lucy Worsley's biography of Austen earlier this year. It really helped me to put the letters in context.

What was great about reading Austen's surviving letters is the recognition of her voice. Unsurprisingly, she was very witty in private as well. Having read her six major novels, I feel pretty confident that Lizzie Bennet is the closest any of her characters come to resembling to Austen. Also, these letters put that image of a shy, retiring Austen to rest. She was a busy woman with a full social life. Both she and Cassandra seem to spend half their time visiting someone else.
Profile Image for Jo Walton.
Author 85 books2,834 followers
April 18, 2016
It's Jane Austen's letters, enough said, really.

I wish there were more, but I cherish what we have, every trimmed bonnet, every ell of lace, every bit of fretting about who her niece is going to marry. It's fascinating actually to consider how many people write books set in the period without having read these, when they're so full of the minutiae.

And... this isn't a review, but it's a response. I wouldn't have written this without reading these letters: https://www.patreon.com/posts/jane-au...
Profile Image for Amle.
132 reviews15 followers
June 1, 2015
This was a wonderful collection of letters. Austen had an amazing command of words and you see her wit and imagination shine through in every seemingly little detail of daily life and gossip. Not exactly sure why I'm only giving it four stars, perhaps because I would have enjoyed reading it better in a different format, perhaps because I mourn the days of letter writing, perhaps because of the sadness that none of these wonderful communications were directed to me by what was obviously, an admirable mind.
Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tam.
59 reviews
October 24, 2010
Sometimes I don't want to know who the authors are because I only want to know them through their fiction and not the non-fiction which is their lives. But these letters help you understand that Jane was alive and well despite her lack of a fortunate marriage.

These letters show that she was simply applying herself to her life not in an effort to prove or show anything - more for something to occupy her hours.

Not a bad way to spend your time - certainly beats youtube.
291 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2009
Jane Austen's letters are wonderful reading--pithy, scathing and hilarious observations of her world and the people in it to her sister Cassandra, and interesting advice on writing and love to her nieces Anna and Fanny. For the Austen aficinadoas, I'd definitely recommend this complete, chronological collection of the known surviving letters over some of the illustrated compilations out there.
Profile Image for Julie.
550 reviews275 followers
April 14, 2018
A joy to read. It's like having afternoon tea with Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, or Marianne and Elinor Dashwood. All the tidbits of daily living, in such a neighbourhood as theirs, circa late 18th, early 19th Century. Nothing could satisfy more!
Profile Image for majoringinliterature.
70 reviews30 followers
October 25, 2014
Originally published at Majoring in Literature.

There is something decidedly voyeuristic about reading the private correspondence of another person. Even if that person happens to have died almost two hundred years ago.

Collections of Jane Austen's letters have been around since the 1930s, when R. W. Chapman first began assembling them for historians and lovers of the famous author to peruse at will. Since then many have been rediscovered, and the collection has grown with every new edition.

So what might prompt someone to read the letters of Jane Austen? For many historians and scholars, it is a case of wanting to discover more about the life and mind of one of English literature's greatest heroes. They approach them, no doubt, hoping that her day-to-day correspondence will enlighten the material she presents us with in her novels.

For others, it may simply be a case of wanting to feel 'closer' to Austen. A peep into her everyday life would surely offer readers an example of what she might have thought, said, worn… the list goes on.

I must confess that I can’t be sure what my motivation was for wanting to read Austen's letters. I suppose it was partly a desire to find out more about Austen - her life, manners, company - but also to see whether reading the letters would in any way change my opinion of her work.

In the past, when letter-writing was not just something people did in olde-worlde movies, and the only way to convey news was through paper and ink, many famous writers and politicians elevated letter-writing to the status of a kind of art. Several people wrote letters with the intention of publishing them, knowing that these letters could contribute to the reputation of the writer.

Austen's letters do not strike me as the kind of things intended for mass perusal. In many ways they are like a riddle, containing a great deal of cryptic information about people and places that are long gone, and events which we could not possibly know about. Austen resists offering scholars much in the way of new insights; the writer of the letters maintains her right to privacy with a relentless zeal. In a range of letters dating from 1796 to 1817, the year she died, Austen writes primarily to her friends and family, exchanging news relevant mostly to the family, and to the neighbourhood that the family inhabits. Reading the letters is rather like following Austen from girlhood, through to adulthood (and, of course, authorship), and finally death. But it is by no means a complete and uninterrupted picture. The letters are full of gaps - literal and metaphoric. Some have been damaged, some lost, some destroyed. This is not so much a picture of Austen's life as snapshots, or jumbled voices from the past.

For someone like me, obsessed with promoting the image of Austen as Author, the most interesting letters are those in which she talks about her writing. There are letters to her publisher (including one where, writing to demand the return of her manuscript, she writes under the assumed name of Mrs Ashton Dennis, and signs off the letter with her initials - MAD), and several letters which show Austen staying in London, eagerly overseeing the final stages of Emma, and negotiating for a swift publication. She also records the reactions of friends and family to reading her novels, and later in life, offers her nieces long and detailed critiques of the novels they themselves have written.

But it is all to easy to forget, while reading, that unlike anything else Austen wrote, what is being spoken of is real people, places, and events. It is hard not to be moved by the later letters of the collection, which reveal Austen's worsening health, and then finally, the last letter in the collection written by her and - perhaps rather evocatively - cut off, and incomplete, due to the loss of the rest of the epistle.

The volume concludes with several letters written by Austen's sister, Cassandra. In a strange way, these letters are the most affecting of all. I think there are few who would not find Cassandra's letters moving, particularly when she reaches this famous passage:

I have lost a treasure, such a Sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed, - She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow, I had not a thought concealed from her, & it is as if I had lost a part of myself.

(Letter from Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight, Sunday 20th July 1817)

Or Cassandra's description of the funerary procession, which she watched from her window (women were not permitted to attend funerals at this time):

… I was determined I would see the last … I watched the little mournful procession the length of the Street & when it turned from my sight & I had lost her for ever-

(Letter from Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight, Tuesday 29th July 1817)

Reading these final remarks brought back to me, with incredible clarity, the fact that I was reading the words of real people - not the words of characters in books, but the sensations of human beings who had cared deeply for each other. I put the book down with a little disgust, and wondered what I had actually gained by intruding, for a few days, on the private lives of these people. I had certainly not been invited, and I wondered if I had gained as much as I had imagined. Though the letters themselves were incredibly interesting - revealing the voice in which Jane Austen addressed the people she knew best - I couldn't help wondering if perhaps I had intruded on things that were just a little too private, even after two hundred years.
Profile Image for Sarah.
182 reviews7 followers
April 11, 2021
I read this collection of Jane Austen’s letters at the prompting of a reading challenge. I’m so grateful to have read them. It was nice to catch a glimpse of the real personality of one of my favorite authors. Her keen observations of her social circle and kind but thoughtful literary advice to her niece made the letters worth reading. I cried at the end when a couple of letters from her sister after she passed were included. I hope to come back to these again some day.
Profile Image for Mary.
285 reviews17 followers
November 20, 2021
I found Austen's letters quite interesting, but this is a terrible edition--no footnotes or editorial apparatus, and so poorly bound that by the time I finished pages were falling out.
Profile Image for Hannah Mann.
83 reviews
January 7, 2023
It for sure had its moments that were hard to get through, but overall showed her love for her people. She was witty, sarcastic, and funny. I think we would’ve been friends. I’m glad we have her writings.
Profile Image for Classic reverie.
1,365 reviews
June 15, 2020
When reading Jane Austen's letters I have felt they lacked a more personal feeling, they felt like events of people with hardly any comments but telling of scenery. When I was about done, I decided to look up what Wikipedia mentioned about her life and death. I posted below why the letters seemed dry, the purging of undesirable comments.

"There is little biographical information about Jane Austen's life except the few letters that survive and the biographical notes her family members wrote.[7] During her lifetime, Austen may have written as many as 3,000 letters, but only 161 survived.[8] Many of the letters were written to Austen's older sister Cassandra, who in 1843 burned the greater part of them and cut pieces out of those she kept. Ostensibly, Cassandra destroyed or censored her sister's letters to prevent their falling into the hands of relatives and ensuring that "younger nieces did not read any of Jane Austen's sometimes acid or forthright comments on neighbours or family members".[9][d] Cassandra believed that in the interest of tact and Jane's penchant for forthrightness, these details should be destroyed. The paucity of record of Austen's life leaves modern biographers little with which to work."

I am glad I read them and especially the letters from Cassandra talking to Fanny about her death. I wonder what illness she really had and how much she suffered. Having recent pain and health problems, I had a special feeling for how much she suffered but kept up her spirits and tried to continue to write. I wonder if she knew when her time time was near.

I did not read this edition but from a collection of her works.

"And now I come to the saddest letters of all, those which tell us of the end of that bright life, cut short just at the time when the world might have hoped that unabated intellectual vigor, supplemented by the experience brought by maturer years, would have produced works if possible even more fascinating than those with which she had already embellished the literature of her country. But it was not to be. The fiat had gone forth, — the ties which bound that sweet spirit to earth were to be severed, and a blank left, never to be filled in the family which her loved and loving presence had blessed, and where she had been so well and fondly appreciated. In the early spring of 1817 the unfavorable symptoms increased, and the failure of her health was too visible to be neglected. Still no apprehensions of immediate danger were entertained, and it is probable that when she left Chawton for Winchester in May, she did not recognize the fact that she was bidding a last farewell to “Home.” Happy for her if it was so, for there are few things more melancholy than to look upon any beloved place or person with the knowledge that it is for “the last time.” In all probability this grief was spared to Jane, for even after her arrival at Winchester she spoke and wrote as if recovery was hopeful; and I fancy that her relations were by no means aware that the end was so near. "

"Since Tuesday evening, when her complaint returned, there was a visible change, she slept more and much more comfortably; indeed, during the last eight-and-forty hours she was more asleep than awake. Her looks altered and she fell away, but I perceived no material diminution of strength, and though I was then hopeless of a recovery, I had no suspicion how rapidly my loss was approaching. "

"She felt herself to be dying about half an hour before she became tranquil and apparently unconscious. During that half-hour was her struggle, poor soul! She said she could not tell us what she suffered, though she complained of little fixed pain. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted, her answer was she wanted nothing but death, and some of her words were: “God grant me patience, pray for me, oh, pray for me!”

"I was able to close her eyes myself, and it was a great gratification to me to render her those last services. There was nothing convulsed which gave the idea of pain in her look; on the contrary, but for the continual motion of the head she gave one the idea of a beautiful statue, and even now, in her coffin, there is such a sweet, serene air over her countenance as is quite pleasant to contemplate. "

"The last sad ceremony is to take place on Thursday morning; her dear remains are to be deposited in the cathedral. It is a satisfaction to me to think that they are to lie in a building she admired so much; her precious soul, I presume to hope, reposes in a far superior mansion. May mine one day be reunited to it! "
Profile Image for Miriam Simut.
294 reviews71 followers
July 12, 2022
I feel odd rating a collection of letters and numerical ratings are so subjective, but I would probably give this a 4/5 in terms of my enjoyment! This was such a fascinating look into Jane Austen's life, family, work/writing, etc. Some of the letters weren't as interesting which is to be expected, but some were absolutely fascinating!!!
Profile Image for Warmisunqu Austen.
130 reviews5 followers
July 14, 2014

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Las cartas están escritas en un estilo llano y sencillo sin cesar esa vena irónica y llena de humor de principio a fin con amplios detalles de su vida cotidiana, sus gustos, sus preferencias literarias, sus opiniones sobre el carácter de la gente que ya conocía y las que iba conociendo por primera vez. Carta a carta nos adentramos en aquellos momentos que compartió con sus seres queridos y amigos, me entristeció todas aquellas misivas que se destruyeron o extraviaron, de las que quedaron destaca el inmenso amor y devoción que sentía por los suyos. Encontraremos constantes revelaciones sobre el carácter de Jane, esa constante picardía y mordacidad al hacer una crítica de alguien por su poca inteligencia, es inevitable que te saque una sonrisa.

Esta obra está basada en la última edición de Jane Austen's Letters de Deirdre le Faye, está sumamente cuidada en su traducción, respetando la esencia del estilo de Jane. Con un completo apéndice y gran cantidad de notas a pie, muy útiles y necesarias para ampliarnos información de lugares, nombres, hechos... Asimismo cuenta con una relación de la bibliografía consultada, una cronología, un índice detallado tipográfico, de nombres, de obras citadas y una galería fotográfica.

La obra está dividida en seis partes. Cada parte coincide con algún cambio importante en la vida de Jane. Hay una introducción aclaratoria de cada parte, haciéndonos un resumen y acercamiento de lo que encontraremos a través de las cartas reunidas.
Si tengo que escoger una parte preferida, están las dos últimas, por acercarnos a sus primeras obras publicadas y las primeras impresiones que recogía de ellas. La última parte es muy conmovedora, ser testigos de cómo su vida se apagaba, fue triste, pero fue aleccionador ver cómo Jane se aferraba a la vida y su fuerte creencia en Dios la sobrepuso a su agonía.

A través de cada misiva nos acerca a vivencias como su experiencia del primer amor; su disfrute por los bailes; el rechazo a una petición de matrimonio; su primer rechazo de publicación, a la que sería después Orgullo y prejuicio; la mudanza a Bath y lo terrible que resultó ese cambio para ella; la muerte de su padre; cada matrimonio de sus hermanos menores, así como los nacimientos de algunos sobrinos; la constante contención económica con la que tenían que vivir; la ilusión y alegría cuando se mudaron a Chawton; los años de calma y creatividad que fueron para ella ese lugar; la publicación de Sentido y sensibilidad, Orgullo y prejuicio y Mansfield Park; los sentimientos que expresaba ante los comentarios de sus obras; el cariño y amor con que hablaba de sus personajes...

Esta obra es para leerla poco a poco, saboreando cada carta, revisando los pies de página, los apéndices para ir familiarizándose con los lugares, personajes y todo lo que se va mencionando en sus misivas, poco a poco iremos sintiendo cómo esta entrañable autora se nos interioriza y sentimos que estamos un poquito más cerca de conocerla mejor. Me quedo con la Jane, creyente, devota, crítica con aquello que no cumplía con sus estándares, sencilla, curiosa con lo que la rodeaba, amante de la vida y de su privacidad, de un espíritu inquebrantable, incluso cuando sentía que su vida se iba apagando...

No puedo dejar de resaltar la magnífica edición que ha hecho dÉpoca, en todo lo que ha implicado acercarnos esta obra a nuestros hogares. Una traducción, maquetación, edición, diseño gráfico y acabado de primerísima calidad y el cuidado al detalle de cada una de sus más de 750 páginas. Desde luego esta obra también ha abierto un abanico de libros que han sido del gusto y preferencia de Jane Austen que me encantaría leer.

Solo nos queda estas 161 cartas llenas de ella, de su puño y letra, adoro aquellas especialmente donde Jane Austen saca toda su chispa e ingenio, era una mujer llena de matices, con un encanto natural, vital y con una mezcla de sencillez y humildad.
Termino esta reseña con unas palabras de Cassandra: "He perdido un tesoro, una hermana como ella, una amiga que jamás podrá ser igualada. Era la luz de mi vida, volvía preciosa hasta la más insignificante alegría, aliviaba cualquier pena..."
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,287 reviews20 followers
February 16, 2022
I listened to Austen's letters over the last month. Her wit is extraordinary (though sometimes mean), and can take the mundane details of clothes, budgets, and visits and make them fascinating. The reader (via Librivox) brought her letters to life, making it feel as if Austen was writing to you. Finishing the final letter felt like saying a heartbreaking goodbye to a beloved friend.

I loved hearing the names of familiar characters in her neighbors and friends, and I wished I had a biography open beside me while I was listening so I could find out all the details about the family events she references.

I now want to go and re-read every single one of her books, which is the highest praise I can give to a collection of letters.
Profile Image for Maria Ruiz.
77 reviews12 followers
July 1, 2020
Seis meses. Seis meses recorriendo la vida de una mujer y una escritora que ha sobrevivido a los límites del tiempo. A través de los ojos y de las palabras de mi queridísima Jane, juntas hemos vivido bailes, viajes, mudanzas, esperanzas, decepciones, ironías... sin duda he visto crecer y madurar el excepcional carácter de una mujer excepcional. Leyendo sus cartas he aprendido que, como se refleja en todas sus obras, Jane veía la vida como un sin fin de matices. Estas cartas demuestran no sólo su forma de pensar y ver la vida, sino también como todas estas vivencias le otorgaron la capacidad observadora y el conocimiento de una sociedad de la época tan profundo que consiguió hacer de ella su legado.

Gracias, Jane. Gracias por abogar por la independencia y por ser fiel a una misma. Gracias por enseñarnos a valorar y ser agradecidos. Gracias por seguir dejando huella en toda persona que se sumerge en tus novelas.
939 reviews4 followers
August 9, 2012
Intended more for scholarly readers than a casual audience, this is exactly what is says, a collection of every surviving scrap of letter Jane Austen wrote to anyone (mainly family) during her lifetime. Everytime someone writes a preface to her books, or creates a new biopic they look here for what she was really like. I did learn that the letters that were destroyed and censored by her surviving sister usually had to do with areas where she had described physical symptoms or made mildly disparaging remarks about family members, and not big juicy secret romance stuff as I had imagined. Has a series of great other features- a notes section detailing how each note was obtained, exactly what it looked like, when it was published, also a biographical index detailing who all the people are, where all the places are and an exhaustive index.
Profile Image for Amalie .
772 reviews217 followers
February 13, 2017
This is the complete collection of the surviving letters of Jane Austen (about 150) and a must-read book by all of her fans. This will give you the chance to take a peek inside the mind of this witty genius.

Most of Jane Austen's letters in this are addressed to her sister Cassandra, but there are also letters to her brothers, friends, and towards the end, her nieces and nephews as well as publishers. For those who are interested, the very first letter has its mention of Tom Lefroy. (personally I didn't like 'Becoming Jane', but thanks to her sister's pyromaniacal stunt, I guess people can always speculate.) The biting wit of her novels is clearly evident in her letters and kind a makes you sad when you read the final one.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
383 reviews78 followers
April 23, 2011
Excellent. Conscious of every word she puts down, as one might expect such a great stylist to be. I can't help but hold it against Cassandra Austen that she burnt a good number of Jane Austen's letters. Written with a good deal of irony and sensitivity; the snippets -- few as they are -- regarding her art and the art of others are quite invaluable. The only thing that irked me was 1. the loss of letters, attributable to CEA, and 2. the proliferation of dashes and lack of paragraphing which made several letters difficult to read. I should have given it 5 stars had the collection simply had *more* on her aesthetics, but as it is... Of course this is a scholarly inclination and I think I should not have minded it as much if I had not been working on her academically
Profile Image for Galena Sanz.
Author 0 books110 followers
February 13, 2015
Una excelente recopilación de las cartas de la conocida escritora. Ha sido muy interesante poder conocer a Jane Austen como escritora, saber cómo era su día a día, como se relacionaba con los demás, como reaccionaba ante la publicación de sus obras... El final de su vida es muy triste y su hermana Cassandra lo relata muy bien en una carta a su sobrina Fanny. Normalmente no dejo aquí enlaces a las reseñas de mi blog, pero puesto que esta vez he publicado antes la reseña que mi opinión aquí, lo dejaré para quien quiera conocer más a fondo mi opinión: http://excentriks.blogspot.com.es/201....
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